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Even small cities like Westcliffe prove that often some of the gems are tucked away on side streets, so it’s worth exploring off Main Street. Launched in 2015, Elevation operates as a wild game and livestock processor (with a mobile slaughter unit) but also town butcher shop and deli specializing in all-natural Colorado-raised meats plus sustainably sourced seafood, they say.

We decide to order some build-your-own sandwiches at the counter, priced at the surprisingly low $6.99 each considering thick layers of meat and overall high-quality ingredients, including fine Harvest Moon Baking Co. breads out of Denver. We outfit our hickory-smoked brisket (a Fourth of July holdover) minimally with horseradish and mayo on soft white bread to let the meat shine, which it does.

Then we bite into excellent, peppery house-corned beef on marbled rye with horseradish Havarti, stone-ground mustard, and lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber slices. Since kick-ass sandwiches deserve a good beverage, we pony up $5.99 each for a cucumber-mint and cherry-vanilla James & James craft sparkling hemp beverage out of Longmont.

They have no sugars (hence don’t cloy) and 25mg of tongue-tingling, chill-inducing CBD, plus superior true-to-ingredient tastes with a strong, resin-y hemp finish I love. The mint in particular folds well into that medicinal flavor as the cucumber refreshes the palate, while the almost dessert-rich cherry soda finishes with a faint chocolaty hint somehow. Indeed we’re elevated.

Food & Drink Editor

Matthew Schniper is the Food and Drink Editor at the Colorado Springs Indy. He began freelancing with the Indy in mid-2004 and joined full-time in early 2006, contributing arts, food, environmental and feature writing.